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Ohio Dems Pressure Attorney General Holder to Investigate the Legality of Voter ID

Democratic leaders in Ohio, lead by Warrensville Heights Representative Marcia Fudge, are putting pressure on Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate whether voter ID laws that have been proposed in Ohio (and other states) would violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965. According to Sabrina Eaton’s article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and former presidential candidate and Cleveland native Dennis Kucinich also signed the letter.

“Many of these bills only have one true purpose, the disenfranchisement of eligible voters - especially the elderly, young voters, students, minorities and low-income voters,” said a letter that Fudge sent Holder today with more than 100 House Democrats.

Many see this as an attack on the 24th amendment, which put an end to poll taxes and other means of voter suppression commonly used by southern political forces that looked to keep African-Americans from having a voice in the political conversation. However, there are provisions that would allow those who could not afford new ID’s to receive them for free. One recent poll suggests Ohioans aren’t too bothered by the idea:

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week, 78 percent of Ohioans support requiring voters to present photo ID at the polls. It found 66 percent of Democrats in Ohio back the idea, as do 77 percent of independents and 93 percent of Republicans. The poll of 1,659 Ohio voters had a 2.4 percent margin of error.

Opponents of the measure suggest its aim is to prevent the small population that does not already have state issued ID cards from voting. Many of these people are college students, senior citizens that no longer drive, and low income city inhabitants that often use public transportation. These three demographics tend to lean Democratic.

Sherrod Brown, Democratic Senator from Ohio, sent his own letter to Holder in April, claiming that there is no evidence of the widespread voter fraud that is being alleged by Republicans who want this law to pass. In it Brown said,

“Although proponents of new voting restrictions stat that they are needed to combat voter fraud, they have failed to marshal compelling evidence to support their claim. Across the nation, it is incredibly difficult to find proven cases of voter impersonation that the new voter ID restrictions are supposed to thwart.”

For a comprehensive look at Voter ID bills around the country, click HERE.


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